COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: Culturally Responsive Making: Developing High-Low Tech Maker Activities in Local and Mobile Spaces for Supporting American Indian Youth

Thursday, September 15, 2016 to Friday, August 31, 2018
Resource Type:
Project Descriptions
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Community Outreach Programs, Making and Tinkering Programs
General Public | Museum/ISE Professionals
Art, music, and theater | Engineering | Technology
Access and Inclusion: 
Indigenous and Tribal Communities
Arizona State University, University of Pennsylvania, Utah State University

This project will develop culturally responsive making and makerspaces with Indigenous communities in Arizona and Utah. The investigators will work in and with these communities to design maker activities utilizing technologies that complement existing cultural practices where the communities are located. This will be done by addressing the following research questions: 1) How does the design of a community makerspace located at a community college on tribal lands differ from the design of a mobile makerspace that travels between tribal communities? What are the affordances and constraints of each model?; 2) How do high-low tech making activities implemented in these two distinct makerspaces support culturally responsive making and STEM learning in American Indian communities?; and 3) How do these new makerspaces and activities impact youth, teacher, and community conceptions of and interest in STEM learning?

By leveraging heritage craft practices, Indigenous technologies, and a mixture of high-low tech tools and materials, this project will expand the range of available maker activities and broaden our definitions of making to encompass craft practices and Indigenous technologies, which are often excluded from the maker literature and makerspaces. Through the design and development of local and mobile makerspace models serving American Indian communities, knowledge of how to design makerspaces that meet community needs and foster STEM learning will be generated. In terms of broader impact, the project will diversify making activities and makerspaces in ways that allow broadened participation in making for underserved American Indian communities. A key project goal is to critically explore making as a democratizing practice that can broaden Indigenous communities' access to and participation in STEM learning. This project is a part of NSF's Maker Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) portfolio (NSF 15-086), a collaborative investment of Directorates for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE), Education and Human Resources (EHR) and Engineering (ENG).

Funding Program: 
Award Number: 
Funding Amount: 
Funding Program: 
Award Number: 
Funding Amount: 

Team Members

Bryan BrayboyBryan BrayboyPrincipal Investigator
Yasmin KafaiYasmin KafaiCo-Principal Investigator
Kristin SearleKristin SearlePrincipal Investigator
Breanne LittsBreanne LittsCo-Principal Investigator

Request to Edit a Resource

If you would like to edit a resource, please use this form to submit your request.